The Trial of Saddam Hussein and The Fallout of The War

The Trial of Saddam Hussein


The fallout in the Middle East from the regime change in Iraq

Friday, January 20, 2006

Aziz Denied Asylum

Croatia has ruled out granting temporary asylum to Saddam Hussein's former foreign minister, Tariq Aziz, if he is freed and allowed to seek medical treatment for cancer.

Aziz wrote to Croatia requesting consideration of a formal asylum demand, if he was released by the Iraqi government.

A series of letters from Aziz and his associates have been released to the media. One said:

"We are therefore requesting an urgent response as to whether the Croatian government would permit ... Tariq Aziz and his family interim residence in Croatia in the event the Iraqi government accedes to our request".

Aziz's lawyers have filed an application with the Iraqi government for his immediate release and have asked France, Italy and Sweden if they could accept him for urgent medical treatment.

However, Aziz's family have asked that he be allowed to temporarily stay in Croatia; because it is considered as a neutral country regarding the war in Iraq.

Aziz has been accused of two counts of mass murder, allegedly committed in 1979 and 1991. He faces the death penalty if he is found guilty.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bush Meets Some of Saddam's Victims

In Washington President Bush met with a group of victims of Saddam Hussein's regime, who had witnessed brutal actions against human rights.

President Bush said that the victims that he met "have suffered, one way or the other, because the tyrant was a law unto himself, and was willing to deny people basic human rights."

He said the stories that he heard from the victims were "compelling", and conveyed both sadness and bravery.


"In the course of our discussion, we were also able to talk about what a contrast it is between a society which was willing to jail people, torture people and beat people and kill people, to a society that is beginning to understand the fruits of democracy and freedom."

President Bush assured the victims that the United States will stand with the Iraqi people, until Iraq can defend itself and will not be "a safe haven for the terrorists."

That is a very open ended commitment, which may take years to deliver.

The question is, are the American people prepared to stay the course?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Trial May Be Moved

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has indicated that he would not object to moving the trial of Saddam Hussein from Baghdad to southern Iraq, or his northern Kurdish region, if the judges sought such a change on security grounds.

That is according to Talabani's secretary, Hewah Othman.

However, any transfer is dependent on parliamentary approval.

How sad an indictment on the security situation in Iraq, and the state of that sad country, is that?

Mission accomplished?????

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Spreading The Guilt

Whilst Saddam Hussein stands trial, it is worth remembering that others had hand in keeping him in power.

Today it is reported that the German/American carmaker DaimlerChrysler has suspended at least six managers over allegations that they had bribed officials to obtain import licences for Iraq, under the United Nations Oil-for-Food programme.

The managers belonged to DaimlerChrysler Overseas. The suspension follows an investigation by the UN and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) into the company.

Paul Volcker, the former US Federal Reserve Chairman, issued a report last year that alleged that companies, including Daimler, had made illicit payments to Saddam Hussein's regime.

The allegations relate to the sale of Mercedes vehicles, and spare parts to Iraq under the Oil-for-Food programme.

According to the Volcker report, Wolfgang Denk, an area manager at Daimler, agreed in 2001 to pay a DM13,000 kickback on a contract to sell an armoured van and submitted an inflated contract price to the UN.

Both Herr Denk, and Daimler told the Volcker committee that it did not knowingly pay a kickback.

The company said last year that it had identified suspect payments.

The investigations by the SEC and the US Department of Justice began in 2004, after a former employee filed a complaint. The employee, whom Daimler said had been dismissed for falsifying financial data, alleged that the company had kept secret bank accounts to bribe foreign officials.

Daimler has dismissed the accusation.

Let us see what comes of this.

New Judge Takes Over

A new judge has taken over responsibility for the trial of Saddam Hussein.

Judge Rizgar Amin, who was in charge of the trial, resigned last week after complaining of interference; he has refused to attend the next hearing on January 24.

His deputy on the five-member bench, Sayeed al-Hamashi, will preside instead.

A permanent replacement will be appointed in due course, if Amin stays away.

Iraqi media have criticised Amin for allowing Saddam, and his co-defendants, to speak at length during the trial; and for allowing the trial to descend into farce.

We shall see if the replacement does nay better!

Monday, January 16, 2006


AWB Ltd, Australia's monopoly wheat exporter, knowingly provided hundreds of millions of dollars in kickbacks to Saddam Hussein's regime and deceived the United Nations about the payments under the oil-for-food program.

That is according to evidence presented by John Agius, a lawyer, to the Australian government's investigation into the activities of AWB.

Agius said that he would present evidence that would show that AWB's most senior executives knew they had paid close to 300 million Aus, for nonexistent trucking services that were channeled directly to Saddam's government.

He also stated that he would be presented that AWB "was prepared to deceive the UN as to the true nature of its contractual arrangement with the IGB (Iraq Grain Board)".

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Trial Judge Resigns

Judge Rizgar Mohammed Amin, the chief judge presiding over the trial of Saddam Hussein, has submitted his resignation.

He claims that he was fed up with the public criticism, for the way he was handling the courtroom.

Rumours had been circulating for a while that Amin was about to quit. However, it was only confirmed by Hussein Mussawi, another judge involved with the case.


"This is true. The reason is, there is a lot of pressure on the judge."

Amin had been criticised for allowing Saddam to dominate the increasingly farcical court proceedings.

Mussawi has insisted that the pressure on Amin was not political; he rejected suggestions that Ibrahim Jafari, Iraq's prime minister and a Shiite, was trying to force him out or influence the handling of the case.

However, a source close to Amin is quoted by Reuters as saying:

"The whole court is under political pressure. He had complaints from the government that he was being too soft in dealing with Saddam Hussein and his co-defendants. They want things to go faster."

It seems that people are trying to persuade Amin to reconsider his decision. An unnamed Western diplomat is quoted as saying:

"We certainly hope and expect that the trial will continue without delay. This is not the first time this issue has come up, and it's important to hear from the judge himself or the Ministry of Information."

Mussawi also said:

"I think he will go back on his decision. A lot of people are talking to him to try to change his mind.".

For justice to be seen to be done, the trial must remain free of poltical influence. The resignation has higlighted the pressure that is being exerted to ensure a speedy verdict that pleases those now in control of Iraq.

Saddam Hussein's trial is scheduled to resume on January 24.